Most of us are familiar with the microbiome of the gut, the “good” and “bad” bacteria that reside there. But each of us also has a microbiome on the skin’s surface. And this delicate microbiome of the skin may be the last frontier of our understanding of skin health and radiant beauty. Dana James of Food Coach NYC, Jasmina Aganovic from Mother Dirt and Marie Veronique Nadeau of the eponymous line shared their knowledge of the skin’s surface microbiome and skin’s relation to gut and digestive health.
We learned that the balance of bacteria we host plays a vital role not only in our immunity, but also in our moods, cravings and beauty. And while we inherit our bacterial colonies at birth, we are empowered with a number of ways we can bring ourselves more into balance. Diet, thought and the environment we inhabit all may contribute to a flourishing and vibrant microbiome. A few basics include eating a diet rich in plants and fermented foods, not overcleansing or stripping the skin and avoiding unnecessary courses of antibiotics and hand sanitizers. Keep it simple. Get to know your colony and let them work for you. We’ll sign off with some delicious and ritualistic ways to support your crew below.
Dana: Moon Juice Green Fermented Seed Crisps: who doesn’t feel good eating a vegetable cracker? Add to that some probiotics and you’ve got one of the best portable snacks available! The Beauty Chef Beauty Fix Balm: a god-send for travel. It contains, amongst other organic ingredients, fermented coconut oil, and it keeps my skin super-hydrated in flight. Klaire Labs Therbiotic: we all need a probiotic and this is a 12-strain probiotic with over 25 billion species. It’s the supplement I most commonly prescribe. Kombucha: it not only tastes like a soda but also contains a beneficial yeast called Saccomycyes Boulardi. This yeast helps prevent the proliferation of mutated forms of yeast like Candida. Miso soup: there’s a rumor that miso soup contains 160 different types of bacteria. While my miso soup isn’t likely to contain anywhere near that (perhaps only a 200-year old Japanese starter might), I like to think that my packet of miso soup is still rich in probiotics! Coconut kefir: a capful of this in a smoothie is a great way to get 15 billion probiotics.
Jasmina: Mother Dirt AO+ Mist: for sure, a total game changer for my skin. Mother Dirt Cleanser: nice and gentle, and it removes my makeup (even waterproof!). May Lindstrom Clean Dirt: for when I feel I need a little extra exfoliation. I love mixing this with water and making it into a thick mask. I love these probiotic chocolate bars by Attune, especially the mint chocolate crunch. I also use this brand of Acacia powder to throw into my shakes. I also love Kefir and drink it almost every day. I typically buy the whole milk Wallaby brand.
Marie Veronique: Replenishing Oil Cleanser: this oil-based cleanser, minimally preserved with leuconostoc (radish root ferment) containing low levels of surfactants (the sudsing agents), helps maintain desirables levels of helper or “good” bacteria in the skin. Low-suds cleansers are less likely to affect levels of bacteria with anti-inflammatory properties that are especially susceptible to surfactants. Pre-Probiotic Daily Mist: probiotics increases levels of good bacteria on the skin in order to maintain a healthy skin microbiome equilibrium, while prebiotics provide nutrients to ensure long-term survival of the probiotics. Barrier Restore Serum: provides components of the stratum corneum that promote good barrier function, and in so doing inhibits inflammatory processes in the barrier layer that could contribute to microbial imbalance, potentially resulting in skin disorders. AO+ Mist from Mother Dirt: restores essential bacteria to the skin, such as Nitrosomonas eutropha, that are removed by harsh cleansing products, as well as by modern habits of overcleansing the skin. Yoghurt: also contains strains of live bacteria that help maintain skin microbiome equilibrium. Yoghurt can be used as a cleanser or in a mask because it will not affect microbial balance, and may even promote colonization of “good” resident bacteria by contributing strains of commensal lactobacilli.